The British soccer team Chelsea on Thursday urged its fans to keep their support “positive” in Sunday’s League Cup final against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, amid fears over anti-Semitic chanting.
Tottenham has long-established links with the Jewish community and Chelsea admitted that previous games between the teams had featured “a deeply unpleasant and unwanted level of anti-Semitic abuse.”
Chelsea’s fans have come under scrutiny after footage emerged showing a group of supporters chanting racist songs and preventing a black man from boarding a Paris metro train last week.
“Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley promises to be a passionate and exciting match with both sets of supporters contributing to an excellent occasion,” Chelsea said in a statement on its website.
“After consultation between the Metropolitan Police and both clubs, we would like to remind supporters of their responsibilities on the day.
“For a small minority, this game has historically brought a deeply unpleasant and unwanted level of anti-Semitic abuse, which has no place in football or anywhere in society. As such, we urge everyone to keep their support positive.”
The statement added: “If we receive evidence that supporters have engaged in anti-Semitic or any other form of discriminatory chanting or behavior, we will take the strongest possible action, including supporting criminal prosecution.”
Chelsea has banned five supporters from Stamford Bridge in light of the Paris incident, which occurred before its 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
“Recent events in Paris have seen Chelsea fans united in their contempt for a mindless few,” the statement said.
“Chelsea is proud of the diversity within our club and our vision embraces equality regardless of race, gender, sexuality, disability or religion. We all share the common cause of supporting our team.”